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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Editor’s Note: Quotes from Jessica Pascoe and assistant coach Chris Solinsky were received via text message from the team's SID Carroll Rich on Friday after the meet.

The first meet of the postseason was the worst performance for Florida’s cross country team as a whole on Friday. The men’s team finished sixth, while the women’s team uncharacteristically finished 11th at the SEC Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, after four of its runners failed to finish within the top 50.

Worst finish for women’s team this year

The women’s season-low finish in Lexington was also the site where senior Jessica Pascoe’s streak of four first-place finishes came to an end. Pascoe (20:14.5) came in seventh to lead Florida, while the next UF runner didn’t cross the finish line until redshirt senior Elisabeth Bergh (21:18.0) finished at 39th in the women’s 6K.

It was also the first time this season where junior Payton Capes-Davis (21:30.2) did not finish second for the Gators. The Bucknell transfer came in third for Florida and 54th overall.

The women had high expectations and fell significantly short of them. Pascoe was disappointed in the performance but has the rest of the postseason on her mind.

“We’ll pick ourselves up, get back to work, get ready for the next two weeks — regionals and nationals, where it really counts,” Pascoe said

Assistant coach Chris Solinsky said Pascoe had an “off day” and was also critical of the team’s performance.

“That’s not who we are on the women’s side,” he said. “They never got off the line and spent the whole race catching up.”

No. 1 Arkansas came away with the win after it had six runners finish in the top 13. Ole Miss came in second and Missouri finished third.

Men barely finish sixth

Florida edged Missouri in the men’s 8K by just two points to finish sixth at SECs. UF was led by redshirt senior Jack Guyton (23:26.3), who finished 17th.

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Redshirt junior Colin Schaefer (23:50.2) was second to finish for Florida at 28th overall followed by sophomore Trevor Foley (23:55.8) at 31st.

No. 11 Ole Miss won the SEC Championship with eight runners finishing in the top 25. Alabama came in second with a first-place finish from graduate Vincent Kiprop (22:51.6) and Arkansas came in third.

Solinsky called the men’s performance “average” and expressed that the team is capable of much more.

“We have to pick ourselves up and learn from this experience, so we do not repeat it going forward,” Solinsky said. “We will be better in two weeks.”

Florida will travel to Tallahassee in two weeks for the NCAA South Regional Championships on Nov. 15, where it will try and make its bid for the NCAA Championships later this month.

Follow Joseph Salvador on Twitter @JSalvadorSports. Contact him at jsalvador@alligator.org

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